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April 6, 2020

Virtual Get-Togethers Help Mitigate The Loneliness of Sheltering In Place

“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Bob Merrill

Whether you have been sheltering at home due to quarantine or doing your part to flatten the curve, it may feel like you’ve been isolated on a desert island for months, not just weeks. A funny meme has been making the rounds that shows how extroverts are handling staying home and how introverts are managing:

Extrovert and Introvert dealing with coronavirus quarantine

There comes a time, no matter what your personality style, when human interaction, even over the computer, becomes essential. This is why so many of us are turning to online “parties” to connect with friends and loved ones.

Choose the right platform

Zoom

Download the app and create a free account to invite up to 100 people for 40 minutes of hang out time, or take advantage of unlimited time with chats under five people. Add your Zoom link to any Flyer invite so guests have everything they need to meet up.

Pro Tip: Whether you’re running low on sleep or just want to look your best on camera, use the “Touch Up My Appearance” filter that displays your video with a soft focus.

Google Hangouts

Use your Google account to hang out with up to twenty-five guests. You can video chat on your desktop or use the app (available for iPhone and Android).

Group FaceTime

For smaller get-togethers, set up a date to chat with FaceTime on your iPhone. Find it in the messages or FaceTime app.

Pro Tip: If you have an iPhone X or later, or an iPad Pro 11-inch or iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation), you can use Animoji and Memoji in your group call. On devices without Face ID, you can use other camera effects, like filters, text, and shapes.

Netflix Party

If you want to Netflix and chill as a group, Netflix party is a Chrome extension that allows you to sync your movie or show with your friends. Plus, it includes a group chat feature to share your commentary without interrupting the movie. Get everyone excited with a movie-themed Flyer invite to save the date and time you’ll hop on together.

Pro Tip: Netflix Party only requires one person to install the extension, so set-up is simple. This makes it a great choice for getting together with grandparents or older relatives who aren’t as tech-savvy.

Choose the Right Number

Four people is a manageable number where you can carry on a decent conversation even if you are speaking over each other at times. More than four, and you may want to add some structure to your event. Be the moderator and ask for “new and needs” – anything your friends want to share or ask for. You can also ask for stories or insights with questions like these:

What is your favorite book and why?
Where was your favorite place to play as a kid?
What was your least favorite job?
What is your favorite color?

You’ll learn a lot about your friends with questions like these, and you’ll hear some funny or unexpected answers.

Let your invitees know what to expectMan holding smartphone with glass of wine and dinner on table

Treat your get-together like an actual party: have a dress code, pick a theme. You can make it a wine tasting and have each participant tell about his wine and why he chose it, or set a rule like “no politics.”

Set the time and duration and ask everyone to RSVP (MailChimp has a free service you can use for designing and rsvp). Tell them to make their favorite hors d’oeuvres and sit in a comfy place. Maybe tell everyone to go outside and you’ll have a virtual garden party. Your imagination is the limit.

The point is to make connections, share news, vent if you need to, and let each other know you care. Be sure to end your meeting quoting Queen Elizabeth from her recent address to the Kingdom, “We will meet again.” Something to look forward to.

More articles on managing self-quarantine at home:

Teach Your Children Financial Literacy
Stimulus Check Scams Have Begun
How to Simply Manage Your Coronavirus Anxiety
Nine Tips for Successfully Working From Home